Philippians 4:13 “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
I hate labels. I hate boxes. They are so confining, restricting and suffocating. I thought I always had two options to either run and I mean run in the opposite direction to any label imposed or climb into the tiny little box of expectation and stay there. For a long time I chose option A, I would do just about anything to prove I was just like everyone else and didn’t have a disability although I very much do. I would star in school plays, try to learn piano (which I had to give up due to needing greater fine motor skills), and compete in Cross Country and School Athletics. Coming from a sporting family that seemed the most important to me as I craved a normal life. As a child I wanted to be a ballerina, they are so beautiful and graceful, I even began lessons for disabled people where they told me I wasn’t sitting properly; I thought “I came here to dance not to be told how to sit”, I didn’t go back. My life felt like The Little Mermaid song ‘A part of your World’ I would spend countless nights crying out to the Lord, “please heal me, please let me walk.”
I remember writing in Letting Go “I am finally letting go of the past and in the process learning to love me and my unique story. My life.”
So I thought,
Then today happened…
Centrelink rang to set up a compulsory meeting with a Disability Employment Officer as the disability pension, and thus its receivers, are under review. The point of the meeting is to see where I am at and what can be done to get me into employment. I should have been pleased at the step in the right direction. That was not my reaction. As I hung up the phone (emotional) scars that I thought had healed (healing is a continuing process much like grief) tore with impressive force flooding me with the many negative thoughts and emotions. Failure. You are different and always will be. What is wrong with you? You will always be stuck. And the biggest one of all disabled. It is like it is permanently imprinted on my skin and won’t come off no matter how many times I scrub my skin in the shower.
I panicked. I had always been Miss Independent. If someone put restrictions on me I was very determined to prove them wrong. One Primary School teacher told Mum at a parent teacher interview I wouldn’t achieve more than being a house wife. That statement went into my being and changed how I approached life. That is the way I have always been; you say I can’t run more than a metre, I will run two just to prove a point.
The label or box of disability has always been the wave threating to drown me. Why? Because if you let it, it reminds you of all the things you can’t do easily, if at all, such as something simple like putting on socks and shoes. I have always wanted to be like everyone else in having a carefree and spontaneous spirit, going the places you want to go and trying the things you have always wanted to try. It can be a very depressing place to be in. So after the phone call I needed out. To calm down and refocus. I went for a walk and a talk with Jesus.
Jesus is not scared of the waves or storms we face in life. If we let Him, He is in the midst of them.
Matthew 14:28 – 32 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came towards Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
On my walk, Jesus calmed the storm that was raging in my heart and whispered the words trust me. I needed to be reminded of who I was in Jesus. That I am so much more than a label even if that label is 100% true. Jesus whispers to me you are mine and I will never let you go. In every high and low. In every crashing wave. In every storm.
Nick Vujicic , founder of Life Without Limbs, says “put a GO in front of DISABLED and it spells GOD IS ABLE”; in our weakness He is made strong, it is in Him we have the strength to move through every storm no matter how big the waves seem, God is bigger. We need to take our eyes off our present circumstances that are swirling about us, threatening to drown us and look to and hold on to Jesus who will be with us in every storm we face.